Posts Tagged ‘Realtà’

Issue 08 – Reality





In recent months, the philosophical and political debates have been characterized by an exorbitant frequency of the term “realism.” As usual, the suffix “-ism” is used to indicate “‘doctrines or attitudes’ (realism, heroism, …) or ‘physical or moral qualities or affections’ (alcoholism, … egoism).” The case is in fact that of a debate concerning the attitude that one should have with respect to reality. First of all, reality is to be taken seriously, it is an inescapable given with which we must come to terms. Amanda Berry, the young woman from Cleveland, was really kidnapped and kept captive with the other women for ten years. Unfortunately, this is not a product of the imagination. Leggi tutto »


Hylas and Philonous ten years after


Ten years after the first, this is the second chapter of the dialogue between Hylas (alias Maurizio Ferraris) and Philonous (alias Achille C. Varzi), one of the decisive texts in the debate of new realism. There is, however, a small yet decisive shift in focus—from what is there to what could be there.


Reality and Poverty


The essay examines the myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus narrated by Plato in the Protagoras and investigates what in it remains insufficient (sophistic) when considered from Plato’s point of view. The answer is that in the myth, being is without remedy and technique provides a remedy for it. Plato seems instead to suggest the hypothesis that being itself is a kind of technique. There is no being without an addition (a prosthesis) of goodness. The remedy is thus not simply an external addition suggested by the pressing practical needs of humans; rather, it is a characteristic of being itself, and simply for this—in the form of culture—it is also an anthropological feature.


Reality and Freedom


The true philosophical problem does not concern the choice between realism and antirealism. It rather concerns the problem of sense, that is, of the origin of reality, its end, and relation with human beings. Experiences of sense are to be found in art, ethics, and religion. The philosophical question stems from feeling that the world, as it is or at least as it appears, is not as it ought to be. Philosophy is the attempt to explain this difference and to overcome the tension entailed in it. This can happen only within an ontology of freedom, which explains both the differentiation of being with respect to its origin and the request of being that ought to be. Three levels of reality are then in order: the original principle as pure and absolute freedom, what is there, and what ought to be. Each of them needs a different kind of knowledge.


Ontological Stratification and Fluidity of Reality


The question of reality implies the necessity of declaring a principle of reality. Thus, it means the necessity of declaring a principle of existence. Through the adoption of a wide criterion like that of intentional existence following up on Quine’s accounts, the question is reformulated as a question concerning not what but how being is. Using Bauman’s concept of liquidity in an ontological manner and discussing Malabou’s notion of plasticity, the form as essence is seen in its possibility of being receptive and fluid and not ontologically static or stiff. Facing a stratified reality, we need to insert phenomenology and hermeneutics into metaphysics or rather rediscover the originary phenomenological and hermeneutical nature of metaphysical thinking.


Reality show(s)?


In the media age, reality is an act of writing. This, however, does not consist in an author’s writing a text addressed to some readers; rather, writing consists in a sort of almost anonymous “engraving” on the visual framework, an almost automatic writing that comes from the ether. Reality becomes the result of an agreement made through negotiation processes. Media have helped the access to reality precisely by including feedback in the process of the transmission of signals. Entertainment represents the core of television language, melting together sensations and perceptions, feelings and rational paths. The web makes reality wider and it denies its reliability. The web works in the background by attempting to show that the TV screen is pervaded by deceiving presences. In the same time, television wants to be thought as a medium conveying reality. All these remarks confirm that we are dealing with a recurring issue, namely: In the TV media, does anything exist that remains independent from the idea we build around it?


Ontology and Reduction


Traditionally, Husserlian phenomenology is thought to bring the question of reality and being back to the question of reduction, and thereby to the status of objectivity. In other words, reality is an attribute of pure objectivity constituted in the immanence of consciousness. For this reason, Husserl has often been accused of idealism. Nonetheless, we have to go deeper into the relation between consciousness and being, subjectivity and reality, in order to understand its authentic sense. We will discover that if reduction is the condition of possibility of reality, it is not, however, its active creation. Rather, it brings to light the genetic and temporal fold of constitution, wherein passivity and activity always intertwine. Stating that there cannot be any ontology without reduction ultimately means that being cannot be thought without temporality.

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